US paper argues for putting student work at centre of accountability initiatives

January 21, 2013

2 US PSE leaders say students would be likely to learn more in college and academic rigour would be increased if professors and accountability proponents focused on the following idea: ask students to produce original work and assess them on it, not on how they do on standardized tests or how many hours they spend in class. This idea underlies a new paper and its afterword released last week by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. The documents elaborate on the Degree Qualifications Profile the Lumina Foundation released in 2011. The paper says the degree profile pushes professors to assign students tasks in which they must produce something, such as a class project or research paper. "Merely identifying a 'correct' answer from a set of posed alternatives is not a production task," says the paper, referring to the common use of multiple-choice tests. "Simply put, the construction of the assignment must unavoidably elicit a demonstration of the competency." The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Paper